Statistics & Facts About Handwashing

Written by dan antony
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Statistics & Facts About Handwashing
Wash hands for 20 seconds for a full effect. (Image by, courtesy of Alisha Vargas)

Handwashing is an important part of disease prevention, but it's often not entirely effective, as most people do not wash their hands well enough or often enough to prevent the spread of disease.

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A 2006 American Society of Microbiology study revealed that only 75 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men wash their hands after using the toilet. Only 33 per cent of middle and high school females wash, and only 8 per cent of males.

Ten Times

"The British Medical Journal" in 2009 published a study which amalgamated 50 other independent studies, and concluded that washing the hands at least 10 times daily is necessary to prevent disease.


Soap has no antiseptic qualities; it makes the skin slick, causing germs to fall off under running water. A longer (20 seconds or more), more vigorous wash offers greater safety.

Antibacterials and Sanitizers

Antibacterial soap offers no significant benefit over regular soap, says the Mayo Clinic. Hand sanitisers do, but must have 60 per cent or more alcohol content, and must be rubbed vigorously on the hands for 25 seconds for full benefit.

CDC Doubts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed doubts that handwashing halts the spread of swine flu; still, it advises handwashing as a precaution.

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